Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Farfalle in Pomodoro Sauce with Sautéed Veggies

I bought this amazing farfalle pasta from Pisa, Italy. They are so pretty, didn't want to cook them! I think it is my Tuscan souvenir so I better keep them until they are eaten by bugs! After that, maybe it's time for us to make another Italy trip! Who am I kidding? I would love to go back to Italy even before that. Just so that you know, I don't have a heart to prepare those beautiful pasta, hence I used the regular Barilla farfalle in Pomodoro sauce. Pomodoro is a very basic Italian sauce with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and basil. My only twist on this classic recipe was that I added roasted cherry tomatoes to the crushed tomatoes and extra extra garlic in the sauce. The garlic was just enough to make a vampire not even come within 50 meters of vicinity of me! Seriously, we all had garlic breath after this dinner but who cares? I also made a very pretty and nutritious side to go with pasta only to mix up the leftovers together for our lunch next day. I was tired of serving and eating plain ol' steamed broccoli as a side. And these days, zucchinis and peppers are in abundance, so I took full advantage of Fall veggies. Just roasted the veggies till tender crisp, tossed them in a bit of EVOO and salt and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan. Pure joy!

Farfalle in Pomodoro sauce
For sauce:
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp EVOO
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes(or to taste)
3-4 garlic cloves, grated
8 oz cherry tomatoes, roasted (optional)
1 package Farfalle, cooked per package directions

How to:
Heat EVOO and add garlic, red pepper flakes. Cook till garlic is fragrant.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Add pasta and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

For Sautéed Vegetables, use any veggie that strikes your fancy. Chop, add EVOO, garlic and red pepper flakes and roast in high oven.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Spinach & Feta Bread and Homemade Fig Jam

I am back! Had an amazing vacation in Barcelona and then Western Mediterranean cruise. Loved Rome. Definitely would love to go back there. Barcelona is also a fantastic city. Always bubbly. We saw so many things, visited so many places and had such great foods everywhere we went. I made sure to have Tapas in Barcelona, Pizza in Naples, Pasta(great home made lasagna!) in Rome, Cannoli in Sicily, Calissons in Marseilles. I wanted to try Paella as well but the serving was great big and I am the only sea food lover amongst the 3 of us! So unfortunately, I couldn't. May be next time when I visit Spain, I will do it.

Back to reality now! Still am jet lagged. I can't believe how 6 hours difference could have such an impact on anyone. I wanted to make something that reminds us all of Mediterranean. I saw fig trees full of ripe, purple figs, almond trees full of beautifully green raw almonds, olive trees looming with lovely green olives… So had to use some of my favourite Mediterranean ingredients and make something that would go nicely with my first post in almost 2 months!

And I came up with this… spinach and feta bread with almonds and fig jam! Doesn't it sound delicious? To me it sure does. It tasted sooooo good and it transported me back to the warm, sunny Mediterranean again. God, I wish I was there right now away from this chilly weather! It will happen when it has to happen but for now, I have to warm up my soul with this comfort food!

Spinach & Feta Bread
1 box frozen spinach, thawed, drained
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups AP flour
1/4 cup yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup olive oil

How to:
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Mix all the ingredients and pour on a square baking pan(fit for brownies). You could use the loaf pan also.
Bake for about 40 minutes or till the top is nice golden brown and the tooth pick comes out clear if inserted.
Serve warm bread with this easy home made fig jam.

Fig Jam

10-12 figs, chopped roughly, soaked in about 1/2 cup warm water for 1 hour
Water as required

How to:
Cook the figs in water till you get the nice thick jam consistency. Takes about 20 minutes.